East Greenwich’s segregated cycle route has finally opened today, two months after it was originally due to see its first riders.
The route from Old Woolwich Road to Farmdale Road, including a crossing of the notorious Angerstein roundabout, had been due to open in early October after work began in August, but work took twice as long as planned because of delays in the supply change and a small change to the original plan.
It took four people to die in 11 years on the A206 before politicians acted. Arianna Skyrzpiec, 31, was killed at the Angerstein roundabout in May 2009. Edgaras Cepura, a 37-year-old software engineer, also died under the flyover in May 2019; the same month as Oliver Speke, 46, died on Romney Road. Stella Chandler, 66, was killed at the junction of Vanbrugh Hill in December 2009.
Now there is a segregated route through east Greenwich, with cyclists then directed onto Old Woolwich Road before being encouraged to use the Old Royal Naval College rather than Romney Road.
The new route isn’t perfect – signage is poor, particularly at the Naval College end. The crossing of the Angerstein roundabout is a quick and dirty solution that could have been implemented years ago with political will. It fits in around the roundabout’s existing traffic light timings – riders have nine seconds to cross each arm, which could cause problems in heavy traffic. The behaviour of drivers at this junction will also remain a factor – one simply sped through the red light this lunchtime, narrowly avoiding a collision with an HGV.
The gloomy flyover, neglected for decades, is not an attractive or safe-feeling place to be. An attempt in the 1990s to route pedestrian crossings through the roundabout failed when they simply refused to use it; better lighting and some painting may encourage more cyclists to give it a go. And the scourge of the Papa John’s mopeds will need watching.
But the route is a vast improvement – particularly crossing the Vanburgh Hill/Blackwall Lane junction – on what came before.
Work is expected to start imminently on continuing the route to Anchor and Hope Lane in Charlton; some traffic islands have already been removed in preparation.
Eventually, it is anticipated that the route will be part of Cycleway 4, between Tower Bridge and Woolwich. But only two isolated sections are open – the part through Greenwich and from Tower Bridge to Rotherhithe Tunnel. Plans for the section from Rotherhithe Tunnel to Deptford Church Street will be announced in the new year, while work is under way between Deptford Church Street and Norway Street in Greenwich. The section in Greenwich town centre is in development, while the route between Charlton and Woolwich is being covered with wider bus lanes; conversion to a full cycle lane is awaiting further funding.
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